Dir: Jose Luis Garci. 2000. 111mins.
Prod cos: Nickel Odeon Dos, Enrique Cerezo, PC 29. Backers: Television Espanola, Canal Plus. Spanish dist: Col TriStar Films de Espana. Int'l sales: TBD. Exec prod: Luis Maria Delgado. Prod: Jose Luis Garci. Scr: Jose Luis Garci, Horacio Valcarcel. DoP: Raul Perez Cubero. Set des: Gil Parrondo. Ed: Miguel G Sinde. Music: Pablo Cervantes. Main cast: Lydia Bosch, Julia Gutierrez Caba, Juan Diego, Ana Fernandez, Manuel Lozano, Inaki Miramon.
Jose Luis Garci is Spain's inveterate Oscar candidate - You're The One is his sixth nomination out of Spain and he has made it into the final five an impressive four times. He is also a renowned cinephile who publishes a film journal and hosts a weekly TV programme where he plays his favourite movies, especially US films from mid-century. You're The One (the original title is in English, although the film is shot in Spanish) is Garci's homage to the movies of that era.
Shot in black-and-white with a period look meticulously designed by two-time Academy Award-winner Gil Parrondo, You're The One pays tribute to a more conservative, methodical style of film-making. Although the film might have come off as pretentious, with a series of derivative cinematic cliches, the opposite happens. In fact, the result seems an ironically radical choice in this era of handheld cameras and choppy, experimental montages.
Strong local reviews and domestic audience turnout have put You're The One in the Spanish top 10 for five weeks in a row. International sales should spring from good word of mouth and, of course, an Oscar run - although no sales agent is yet attached.
Set in 1940s, post-Civil War Spain, You're The One is the story of Julia (an excellent Bosch), a wealthy woman who retreats to her family's rural summer estate after her lover is taken political prisoner. Grappling with a severe depression, Julia finds solace in the day-to-day lives of the local townspeople. The repressive mores of the Franco regime boil beneath the otherwise tranquil surface of small-town life, which we see through Julia's world-weary eyes as well as those of her humble housekeeper's fresh-faced son (Lozano, star of last year's like-minded Civil War film Butterfly).
The women-driven storyline - unusual for a Spanish period tale - is also refreshing. The story unfolds gradually, maintaining viewers' interest for the film's nearly two-hour running time.
A cast of flesh-and-blood secondary characters are nicely brought to life by Juan Diego as the conflicted town priest, Inaki Miramon as the lovestruck schoolteacher, Julia Gutierrez Caba as the house overseer, Ana Fernandez as the housekeeper and young Lozano.